What’s Lurking Behind Your Foot Pain?

The podiatrists at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Heidi M. Christie and Dr. Chanda L. Day-Houts, are uniquely qualified to treat all manner of foot problems, but feet are not the only things we see! The “Dr.” in our names means that we’re trained to think about our patients’ overall health, not just their feet. Sometimes we examine a patient’s foot and get clues about something bigger going on.


Here are 7 things that can go wrong with your feet that may indicate a more serious health problem:


  1. A wound that won’t heal – Sores that don’t heal can be a sign of diabetes. Higher than normal blood sugar takes away the healing properties of blood, so a cut or scrape may take a long time to heal. A thorough examination for signs of skin cancer may also be in order.
  2. Unusually dry, flaky skin – If we’re able to rule out athlete’s foot, other fungal infection, or even sunburn, we may suggest you have your thyroid levels checked. Low thyroid, or hypothyroidism, can cause dry skin.
  3. Numbness – Peripheral neuropathy – damage to the nerves – can cause numbness in your feet. Peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes.
  4. Foot cramps – Frequent or constant cramping of the feet may indicate a nutritional deficiency (lack of potassium, for example), dehydration, nerve problems, or a circulation problem.
  5. Hairless toes – If you find you no longer have hair growth on your toes, it could mean your toes aren’t getting enough blood flow. Our podiatrists may suspect a circulation problem such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
  6. Cold feet – Feet that won’t warm up are another sign of hypothyroidism. Cold feet accompanied by painful white, blue, or red toes are a sign of a common circulation problem called Raynaud’s disease.
  7. Sudden pain in your big toe – When you have sudden pain and redness only in your big toe, we’re going to suspect there’s something else going on in your body: high levels of uric acid in your bloodstream. Excess uric acid can build up in your big toe joint and cause a kind of arthritis known as gout.


Bottom line: don’t ignore foot pain or changes in the appearance or feeling in your feet. For a thorough foot examination that takes your whole body and your overall health into account, contact us online or call us at (334) 396-3668.